Total Quality Management (TQM) is an important management tool that is used by institutions to improve coordination and efficiency in service provision for the benefit of customer satisfactions.. In this world for of competitions, many firms are aiming for the best and direct their focus on customer satisfaction, as customers are the reasons. Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company implemented TQM in 2016 with the aim of influencing quality and empower all members of staff in respective departments to make decisions regarding quality. In this regard, the research aims at evaluating the impact of TQM by LgWSC on customer satisfaction and retention in Kabwe district of Zambia.
1.2Background of the Study
Many Organisations in challenging environments are forced to apply innovative management strategies like, Total Quality Management (TQM). Therefore, many service Organisations, including water utility firms, have responded to these challenges by adopting TQM in order to achieve quality and excellence in service delivery (Pavlic et al., 2004). The Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company, implemented TQM System since 2013 and additionally implemented Environmental management System in 2015, and Mulonga Water in 2015 .Thus, TQM has become the way of life in the water sector to improve services (LgWSC, 2015). In addition, water utility firms are under pressure to increase profitability in the challenging situation (NWASCO 2016).
Lukanga Water and Sewerage is operates in Central provinces is among the eleven water utilities in Zambia that were created after a successful transfer agreement by Government of Zambia to be run by boards. Before the transfer, the water utility companies were managed by Municipal councils and Chiding (2011) noted that, councils where not efficient enough to supply water services to both domestic and water services due to lack of funding from the central government.
LgWSC like the other ten water utilities adopted TQM in 2015 and implemented it in 2016 in its operations in order to attain operational efficiency (Ngandu, 2017). In order to achieve excellence and quality, the firm has emphasized on the roles and responsibilities of every employee of the utility to make participate in decision making regarding quality within their areas of responsibility. Furthermore, LgWSC highlights on proper coordination of work processes from different departments and sections with the goal surpassing customer’s expectations (LgWSC, 207). The TQM variables which the firm has adopted are focus, top management involvement, employee involvement, teamwork, continuous improvement, and. (LWSC, 2017)
On the other hands, despite Lukanga having implemented TQM, it lacking in certain capacities of its operations. According to National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO, 2017) for the last 10 years of its existence, LgWSC has not been able to attain 100 percent in its operations and maintenance instead its stood at 85 percent as of 2016. The results also reflects poor service delivery in other areas of operations. NWASCO further reveals, that the collection efficiency of user fees was at 83 percent against the set standard of 85 percent, and unaccounted for water at 43 percent instead of 25 percent. The water coverage stood at 74 percent whilst the sanitation coverage was at 39 percent, and this was against NWASCO standard of 80 percent respectively. The results indicate 25 percent of the people in central province are not suplied with clean, safe and piped water, and 60 percent do not have adequate sanitation facilities. (NWASCO, 2017)
1.3 Problem statement
Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company faces challenges in order to continually improve the quality of their water, sewerage, and other services, while at the same time reducing costs to meet to meet changing customer needs and remain competitive (LgWSC, 2017). Increase in number of defects in pipes has for some time depriving LgWSC of its profit as it is costing more to repair. Often customer complaints go unresolved. On the other hand, the water and sewerage position of LgWSC is weakened as residents and business houses sunk boreholes, wells and septic tanks on their properties (LgWSC, 2015, , Ngandu, 2017 and NWASCO, 2017).
After the transfer of the ,management of th LgWSC, The board and management needed a system with an aim that would offer improvement and service deliver, , as Walton (1990) puts it “Without an aim, there is no system (Walton, 1990). To gain the excellence and quality, LgWSC adopted TQM in 2013 and implemented it 2016. The aim of TQM was for improvement of service delivery, optimum employee participation and retain new and existing clients (LgWSC, 2015, and 2017). Thus, this research will evaluate the impact of the implementation TQM by LgWSC on customer satisfaction and retention. There has been little or no research that has been done on the impacts on TQM on customer satisfaction and retention, and this research intends to fill that gap.